Year of Back to Basics: January

The monthly updates return!

As this goes to press, I’m on a train to Scotland for a work event which I’m both nervous and excited about. Once again I’m going to be a bit of a fish out of water when it comes to demographics with the other attendees (my best work pal and closest peer is off on maternity leave) but I’m trying to buck up my confidence – armed with my Barbour, a backlog of podcasts and books, and a black dress.

In case you’re relatively new around here, internet veteran CGP Grey explains why themes are better than resolutions. and provides a much better perspective on why structuring your life this way is probably something you should try.

Happy new year, if we’re still allowed to say that.

Money

I want to say I bought NO personal items this month but I actually had to some thinking about this. Categories of items like health and beauty replacements or toiletries I don’t count if they are strictly replacements for items that I have used up, however I did pick up a cream blush from Glossier when I was replacing a moisturizer…and I managed to do it without even thinking! Bad start to the year, C.. However, I’ve added it to the shopping list tracker in the spirit of honesty and fairness. Historically I have treated personal care and beauty items as different from clothing, housewares, and other goods, but I think that differentiation was given me an “out” in my head and I’m not going to make a distinction this year. If I want to buy makeup of any kind, on this list it goes! I’ll continue to make an exception for skincare, however, so long as it follows the replacement rule.

Otherwise? This was a baller month for money! I prioritized home cooking significantly (which had the added bonus of helping me work towards completing some of my food related 101/1001 goals) and unsurprisingly, this had a noticeable effect on my walking-around money. We also continued to prioritize credit card debt and bent over backwards to avoid putting purchases on it. This allowed us to throw another sizable chunk of money at our total debt, which feels so bloody satisfying. Next month we’ll pay off another credit card in full and possibly two. Meaning that if we keep this pace up, we can easily eliminate all our credit card debt by the middle of the year, which means we can focus on loan debt and building savings. Each month I feel lighter and lighter about money, it’s a fantastic feeling.

 

Relationships

This month I focused on communication, which is something therapy is helping me with especially. It’s resulted in lovely chats, text chains, letters, and emails with all kinds of friends and loved ones, as well as clarity in conversations at work. Most importantly, I’m trying to listen more deeply and learn when others voices are more important. Have I recommended therapy lately?

 

Basic Bitch

Weight loss – made some progress simply through home cooking and ensuring that everything I made was really healthy. On the flip side, and somewhat at odds, I also started baking once a week. Jeff got the majority of the spoils. Definitely not continuing this approach indefinitely–I don’t believe in long term ridiculous self-denial–but I am going to continue cutting back significantly on carbs and sugar and ensure that what I do consume is home made and not bought. Nothing effects my weight more than food, and more than those categories in particular.

 

Other

This was a fantastic month for books, I read over a dozen (which puts me WELL on the way to reading 100 in a year), including several Agatha Christie novels (advancing my goal to read all her works), and three topical books on the human body and health as part of my armchair-expert-via-literary-osmosis goal.

My focus on cooking also progress my goals to try 25 new-to-me recipes.

Kicked off my cold weather capsule wardrobe project.

Started listening to a new album every week. Fiction and music help keep the badness of the news in check.

 

5 thoughts on “Year of Back to Basics: January”

  1. Ooh, what albums have you been listening to? Any good recommendations?

    I’ve been listening to the Lebanese band Mashrou Leila a lot recently. Can’t understand a word (they mainly sing in Arabic) but I’ve read a few articles about the meaning behind their songs – they often sing about human rights, LGBT issues, social justice etc within the context of the Middle East. Sounds heavy but their music is such a great soundtrack to my workday. And a colleague recommended The Vitamin String Quartet – string quartet covers of pop songs. Fun to listen to!

    1. I’m compiling a list as I go and will post at the end of the year, but I’ve discovered an artist named Snoh Aalegra and have fallen in love with her voice.

      Love the recs, thank you! Keep the coming.

  2. This all sounds amazing and good for you! I am in awe of all the reading you do…I can barely trudge through maybe 3 or 4 books a month. I often dislike fiction so have a challenge finding stuff I really enjoy.

    I am also trying hard to lose weight — but also (!) doing some baking. The fact is any store-bought muffin is FULL of fat and 2 to 3 times larger than anything we make at home.

    1. You can also control the amount of sugar you put in homemade recipes – quite often you don’t need as much as the instructions call for. Lifehack!

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